Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world's second-largest country by total area and the fourth-largest country by land area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. The majority of the country has a cold or severely cold winter climate, but southerly areas are warm in summer. Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land territory being dominated by forest and tundra and the Rocky Mountains. It is highly urbanized with 82 per cent of the 35.15 million people concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its five largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa.
Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. The history of Toronto began in the late 18th century when the British Crown purchased its land from the Mississaugas of the New Credit. The settlement established there became York, which lieutenant governor John Graves Simcoe designated as the capital of Upper Canada. The city was ransacked in the Battle of York during the War of 1812. In 1834, York became a city and renamed to Toronto. It was damaged in two huge fires in 1849 and 1904. Since 1954, the city occasionally expanded its borders through amalgamation with surrounding municipalities, most recently occurring in 1998.
According to the 2011 Census, the city has 2.6 million residents, making it the fifth-most populous city in North America. However, in 2012, the municipal government published a population estimate of 2,791,140, which led to media reports claiming Toronto as the fourth most populous city in North America and the most populous Great Lakes city, surpassing Chicago. The census metropolitan area (CMA) had a population of 5,583,064, and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) had a population of 6,054,191 in the 2011 Census. Toronto is at the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, and of the densely populated region in Southern Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. Its cosmopolitan and international population reflects its role as an important destination for immigrants to Canada. Toronto is one of the world's most diverse cities by percentage of non-native-born residents, with about 49% of the population born outside Canada.
As Canada's commercial capital, it is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange and the five largest banks in the nation. Leading economic sectors in the city include finance, business services, telecommunications, aerospace, transportation, media, arts, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism, and engineering. Toronto is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network and is placed among the Global Leaders in the Global Financial Centres Index. The city is also consistently rated as one of the world's most liveable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.